The 2012 Honda Ruckus
is basically identical to last year’s model. One exception is the new colour scheme that gives this go-anywhere two-wheeler a fresh, youthful look. The white frame and bright red seat combination promises to turn heads when riding about town, especially with the pothole-busting balloon-like tires. For those who prefer to fly under the radar, graphite black is still available.
Designed for a variety of terrains and applications, including gravel roads, dirt trails, and rough city streets, the Ruckus might just be the scooter equivalent of an SUV. Stripped down to the basics, it has been reinforced to tackle the urban and suburban jungles.
The Ruckus is built on a two-piece die-cast aluminum front frame with upper steel rear frame. Its liquid-cooled 49cc OHC single-cylinder engine is mated to Honda's V-Matic belt-drive transmission, which shifts gears all by itself. Also, a kick starter serves as a backup to the electric starter.
|Its liquid-cooled 49cc OHC single-cylinder engine is mated to Honda's V-Matic belt-drive transmission. (Photo: Honda)
Engineers took care of protecting the mechanical components against the elements and the daily grind, with a compact radiator featuring aluminum fins for optimum cooling, a lightweight, no-maintenance water pump, a fuel-efficient constant-velocity (CV) carburetor with automatic choke, and an electromagnetic fuel pump mounted inside the fuel tank.
The instrument panel is limited to a speedometer and odometer, not to mention a few indicator lights, one of which activates when there's barely a litre of gas left. The 375mm seat height is perfect for an average-size adult or teenager, while the two big headlights provide adequate lighting after the sunset.
The front suspension consists of a twin downtube fork with 56 mm of travel. In the back, the single-sided aluminum swingarm with single shock offers 66 mm of travel. Braking is handled by drums at both ends. And with oversized 10'' tires, this scooter doesn't fear bumps and other small obstacles in its path.
|The front suspension consists of a twin downtube fork with 56 mm of travel. In the back, the single-sided aluminum swingarm with single shock offers 66 mm of travel. (Photo:Honda)
Convenient storage is definitely not the Ruckus' forte. You can tie a backpack using straps or fix your helmet with the ring under the seat. Actually, this area is great for carrying tools or a shotgun if you plan to head out to the woods.
At $2,769, the 2012 Honda Ruckus is an attractive product, especially for beginners. A spartan yet rugged scooter that can build your confidence anytime and anywhere you want.